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of amending the former one. would have liked better the numerical mode. But in this instance, as in many others, the French appear to have had a quick sense of er rors, but were not sufficiently cool to apply the best remedies to correct them. Bonaparte, I conceive, revoked the new calendar merely to facilitate his views in removing, as far as he could, ail traces of the revolution out of his own road to arbitrary power. However unsuccessful the French revolution has hitherto been, and how much soever the good effects resulting from it have as yet been marred, by the passions engendered under the old system of errors and prejudices, by the unprincipled concert of princes against the new born liberty, and by the self-interest and ambition of Bonaparte, I cannot concede that it ought to be called the era of folly and madness." I contemplate it in a very different character. I lament the excesses, the acts of violence, and the errors with which it was accidentally attended, but I think I perceive in it, the germ of future improvements, and that philanthropists will hereafter refer to it, as the commencement of an epoch of amelioration, when the dreadful fermentation may have subsided, and according to a kind, and always operative law of our nature, good has been produced out of evil. I do not expect, and certainly I do not desire, the perma. nency of the Napolean dynasty, but having long been convinced of the necessity of a change, from the ac cumulated abuses and prejudices of former times, and long cherished the hope that the French revolution was the commencement, or perhaps rather the forerunner of an era of reform, I cannot readily bring my self utterly to abandon my hopes. To use a significant, but not a courtly phrase of a nervous writer,
I consider the present period as a season of obscruation, but in contem plating it, I continue to cling to hope beautifully and energetically expressed by Gray, and with which I once before on another occasion enriched your pages
"Fond impious man, think'st thou you sanguine cloud,
Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day,
Tomorrow he repairs the golden flood, And warms the nations with redoubled ray."
At least I will cherish the hope as long as I can, and forbear to the last extremity, to despair of the progressive improvement of mankind.
For the Belfast Monthly Magazine.
PUT it to the candour and good sense of R. whether he th
answered my plain question.-" Can the author of the political retrospect justify his frequent and severe attacks upon dissenting minis ters, by pointing out a single condition in the grant of the R. D. that encroaches on the discipline, the doctrine, or the rights of the dissenting church "
Has he pointed out one condition, that has corrupted or injured our church? Not one-since thea no injury has been done, I might here dismiss him on the merits; but as he has alleged one injury, and only one actually done, I shall examine that, and then proceed to his probabilities and conjectures.
It is alleged, that the patriotism of dissenting ministers, at its meridian glory, in 1782, has declined since the augmentation.-This I deny. The old whig principles, not the overthrowing principles of after times,
animated their bosoms in 1782, and still continue to animate them. And if they have not been as forward in avowing these principles of late years, their silence has been owing to their abhorrence of those revolutionizing principles that have been since grafted on the tree of rational liberty, and have produced nothing but sour, rotten, and bitter fruit. This perversion of the origiginal principles of reform to the purposes of revolutionizing demo cracy, and the consequent staining of the cause by the unprincipled having recourse to criminal meals, united with the conviction of the injurious consequences resulting
from the interference of the church with the state, determined them as ministers to decline meddling with politics. But be it understood, that in a civil view they fear not to acknowledge, that they are the same friends to a constitutional reform, that they were in 1782 The augmentation has not made them toriesas to the additional burthen to the people, (an argument never adduced before by the reviewer, though here alleged to be his principle argument,) the whole amount of the grant has been ere now bestowed upon three or four miscreants, without exciting such a claniour as bas been excited against this moderate and seasonable remuneration to 180
useful instructors, not for nominal offices, or sinecures, but for service actually done to the community.
If requiring the oath of allegiance be "encreasing the influence of the crown," it is an encrease that the King can require of all, or any of his subjects, when he and his council think proper. Nor is this any additional qualification, having been always required, and continuing to be required at every minister's ordination, before the people, and
since the augmentation, before two magistrates.
As to the unequal distribution of the R. D. to one third, 50%, to another third, 751, to another third 1007; though this plan is objectisnable, as not proportioning the reward to the duty, nor to the necessi ty of the rewarded persons, yet does it not create a disparity of rights, or even of influence. There is no distinction of ranks, of rights or of orders, in our church. Superior talents and probity retain the preeminence they are entitled to, in our ecclesiastical assemblies, but these are no more exclusively attached to classes, now, than they were to higher stipends, before classification took place. Seven years experience has not made the slightest encroachment on our pri mitive equality.
The right of the people to choose their own pastors, has not been once encroached upon, though it is most unfairly insinuated by R. that an encroachment has been made on this right. As to independence of the people, be it remembered that seven years enjoyment of this mere competence has not made them corrupt partizans of the state, nor has it relaxed their endeavours to promote the spiritual interests of the people.
Where then is that love of truth, of liberty and of christian charity, with which the Belfast Magazine made its auspicious debut. Is either of these manifested in the But I hope the reviewer has fallen into the common error of supposing that the g-t were to have a VETO on the people's choice, and that he will candidly acknowledge and recant that error. I shall now take my leave of R. after having proved, that no encroachment has been made on the rights, or purity of the
Lord Castlereagh has proved himself the worthy successor to the principles and practices of Sir Robert Walpole. Both set up on whig principles, but having mounted the ladder, their schemes centered in practical toryism. It is curious to observe so great a coincidence of language and conduct between the donors and acceptors in 1723, and those in the present day. May we not now say that the fears expressed by Dr. Mayo, as to the effects of the Regium Donum on the independence of the dissenting cler gy have been since in many instances verified?
"The origin of the Regium Donum was in April, 1723.—Fatal æra! for then protestant dissenting ministers first became state pensioners, and ministerial tools. At that time the dissenters expected, what for years before they had justly merited of the Brunswick line,-a complete restoration of all their natural rights and religious privileges. They had often reason to complain of bishops and statesmen, in former reigns; but, under George the wise and
steady, they depended on obtaining the repeal of every statute, which infringed the right of private judgement, violated the liberty of conscience, and made odious distinctions between one good subject and another.
Sir Robert Walpole was then chancellor of the exchequer, a stafésman, who knew too well, for the real interests of his country, the pas sions which are most apt to be predominant in the heart, and whom no man ever equalled in the application of gold. By this he daily converted his enemies into friends, and so charmed even the flaming votaries of liberty, dissenting ministers not excepted, as to reconcile them to corruption, and even to court fetters, and rejoice in them. He had observ ed, from year to year, the wonderful effects, which the smiles of the treasury-bench had on all ranks of men; and finding that the protes tant dissenters, after being many years trifled with, were moving m earnest to obtain deliverance from their bondage, he closeted a few of their ministers whom he thought to have the most influence among their brethren, and who would best answer his purposes. In their presei ce, he wore the mask of friendship, and sanctity-he complimented them on their great abilities-assured them he had the heartiest zeal for the protestant dissenters, and their interests-lamented the poverty and small incomes of many of their ministers through the kingdom, and that any laws should hang over their beads. The reverend gentlemen (like their successors of the present day) were soon overpowered with his condescension, eloquence and goodness. He then declared his readiness to serve them any way, even in parliament, for the repeal of the cruel statutes against them: but the present year, 1723, was a very impro
per time-he, the greatest friend they had, would not advise them to apply that session; if they did, it would greatly injure, if not ruin the cause; but the postponing it would greatly promote its success in a future period. A respectful post poning of it was very likely to obtain its success; whereas, to bring it on, without any regard to circumstances, or contrary to the advice of the best judges, and their most able advocates, might be called rashness, and would do dishonour to the cause. The language of courtiers and their tools is the same from one generation to another.
"To enforce this reasoning, he drew 5001, out of the treasury, by a warrant payable to a surgeon, and which was paid by another agent into the hands of nine ministers. The bait was, "Pray receive this for the use and comfort of the widows of dissenting ministers, till administration can more effectually serve your cause." But a strict charge was given with the money, that the matter should be kept very secret. Grateful Sir Robert! to conceal the virtues of his royal master, and not suffer his favourites so much as to speak of this considerable taste or royal bounty, which was also promised to be annual.
"Some few years after, for their good services to administration, and to enable them to do more, the sum was encreased and advanced to 8501. half yearly. This is the present value of the treasury warrant ; but there are large fees and deductions."
country which, without this royal bounty, would not exist. But these advocates should consider, that, as the money is not designed by the treasury, so it is not limited by the present almoners, to such uses. But if every farthing were thus applied, what are all its advantages when weighed against the disgrace it fixes upon the dissenters, as pensioners and tools of every administration?
"A few years past, a very respectable person, then in a high office, was much offended with his friend, a late eminent dissenting minister near London, for the complaints he made in behalf of his brethren, of the difficulties they laboured under in point of religious liberty; and retorted, "it was well known they received a HANDSOME SUM OF MONEY from government to SILENCE their complaints as well as their applications— therefore, they should either NOBLY throw up the grant, or remain in silence."
"The troubles and evils produced by the Regium Donum among the body of ministers themselves, are too well known. It hath been an Achan's wedge in their camp. hath furnished some with means to encourage separations, and support parties and divisions in city and country. It hath enabled former almoners to appear at public collections, charity-dinners, &c. &c, as very rich, or exceedingly generous, to the disparagement of their brethren. The poor country-ministers have esteemed them superlatively benevolent and godlike, believing their donations to be their own pro
Notwithstanding the baneful ten-perty; and have been led to lightly dency and effects of the Regium Donum, many dissenters have contended, that still it is of great benefit to the interest, as relieving many poor ministers, with their widows and children, repairing their places of worship, and upholding many autipædobaptist congregations in the
esteem and censure other Londonministers as covetous or hardhearted, because their benefactions were not equal to those of the RegiumDonum-men. But the greatest evil is, it hath procured the almoners an influence and power both in city and country, that is danger sue
and may be fatal to the cause at large.
"The dissenting ministers, by their pusillanimous conduct respect ing the Regium Donum, (which, with equal propriety, hath been otherwise stiled hush-money) seem not to have considered the axiom, that a tree which has but just taken root may be removed by a single hand; but let it alone, it will strike so deep, and grow so high, that thousands cannot root it up from its foundation. The head of a spring may be stop ped with a very small dam, but when suffered to take its course, enCreasing to a large river, it fills the country, and an army of elephants cannot pass it. It is, therefore, high time for the London-ministers either to reprobate this connection with administration, or to prove to the treasury, that the gentlemen who receive the 1700 annually, without account, however reputable and worthy, as christians and ministers, are not the representatives of the body, in that or any other point."
For the Belfast Monthly Magazine.
IN 1651, Mr. John Dee, in a work published in London, defines "Per spective" to be an Art Mathematical, which demonstrateth the nature and properties of all radiations, direct, broken, and reflected." And "glass," according to him, "is a general name, in catoptrike, for any thing from which a beam reboundeth." Is it not greatly," he asks, "against the sovereignty of man's nature, to be overshot and abused with things (at hand) before his eyes? as with a peacock's tail, and a dove's neck: or a whole ore, in water holden, to seem broken: things far off to seem near, and near, to seem far off: small
BELFAST MAG. NO. XXXIĮ.
things to seem great, and great to seein small. One man to seem an army. Or a man to be curstly afraid of his own shadow. Yea, so much, to fear, that if you being alone, near a certain glasse, and proffer with dagger or sword, to foyne at the glasse, you shall suddenly be moved to give back (in manner,) by reason of an image appearing in the air, between you and the glasse, with like hand, sword or dagger, and with like quickness foyning at your eye, likewise as you do at the glasse. Strange this is to hear off, but more inarvailous to behold, than these my words can signifie. And neverthelesse by demonstration opticall, the order, and cause thereof, is certified: even so as the affect is consequent. Yea, thus much more dare I take upon me, toward the satisfying of the noble courage that longeth ardently for the wisdom of causes naturall: as to let him understand, that in London, he may with his own eyes, have proof of that, of which I have said herein. A gentleman, (which for his good service done to his country, is famous and honourable and for skill in the mathematical sciences, and languages, is the odde man of this land, &c.) even he is able: and, (I am sure,) will very willingly let the glasse and proof be seen and so I (here) request him; for the increase of wisdome, in the honourable, and for the stopping of the mouths malicious: and repressing the arrogancy of the ignorant: ye may easily guess what I mean.' These last words will be best explained by the author's long and querulous " Digression Apologeticall:" "And for these, and such like marvellous acts and feats, naturally, mathematically, and mechanically, wrought and contrived: ought any honest student,
Sir W. P.